For Ado Local Government Area in Ekiti, it is a shift in focus from tax net expansion to the recovery of backlog from already existing taxpayers. In what seems unbearable, the leadership of the local government has frowned at the increase of a particular debt profile.
The debt profile is that of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC amounting to the whopping sum of ₦16 million as a result of failure in remitting due taxes to the council’s coffers between 2013 and 2020. This skyrocketing number is not sitting well with the administrator of the affected local government area.
What seems mind-boggling to Mrs. Omotunde Fajuyi, Chairman of Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti is the 7 years of consistency in the failure of BEDC as a private company to remit tax, shortchanging the government of an appreciable sum to fund its day-to-day operations.
As desperate times call for desperate measures, in a recent development, the Ajilosun Area of Ado-Ekiti state office of BEDC is now under lock and key by officials of the council due to the alarming rate of backlog.
The taxes highlighted to have contributed to the backlog include operation permits and the tenement rate from 2013 to 2020. The council further explained that without the settlement of these taxes, it will not back down from taking necessary action to force compliance.
In the similitude of a double tragedy, apart from the tax debt, the leadership of the council also decried the poor power supply to the communities, noting that BEDC has been entangled with allegations of extortion running to millions from end-users.
As a resolution, the aggrieved council has therefore urged BEDC operations in the affected community to reach out to its headquarters on the urgency of settling the ₦16 million backlog before reconsidering a reopen.
Mr. Kayode Brown, the Head of Corporate Affairs of BEDC in Ekiti in response has admitted the effect of the development on the company’s operation describing it as a bad omen for the corporate image of the distribution company.
A plea was however channeled to the council to work out a way to offset the backlog with mutual negotiations. The BEDC is proposing payment in installments, with the first payment happening soon.
On other matters
In a digression from tax backlog, the need to distribute prepaid meters as a solution to extortion has also been brought to the spotlight by the council. Recall that the Federal Government, months ago ordered the compulsory issuance of prepaid meter to every household.
In the council’s boss words
“I want to thank you for coming here today but we have to say that whether you like it or not, BEDC is a private company that ordinarily should pay the expected taxes to the government without any form of force. It is even a criminal offense for you to be invading tax and when you do, you should be sanctioned.
“As a local government, we have the constitutional duty to seal off any premises for invading taxes from 2013 to 2020, we are even not talking about this year’s own at the moment. For that your office to be reopened for business, you must pay the backlog, that is the decision of the local government management.
“Your business has not been palatable to the people of Ekiti, that is the truth and it is like you are exhorting the people for long. I believe you will do reparation for the sordid relationship.”